Mountain biking destinations in India that are every adventure junkie's dream come true

Tripoto

Credits: Public Domain Pictures

Photo of Credits: Public Domain Pictures by Siddharth Sujan

One of the oldest known forms of adventure, mountain biking has existed since time immemorial. The exhilarating adventure sport is said to have its origins from the time that cycles itself were invented. The lack of proper roads forced cyclists to ride off-road and discover new, challenging trails in the mountains. And thus, mountain biking was born.

The sport has since then seen a huge change owing to the advancement in gear which in a way contributed to lot more people heading to mountain biking as a form of recreation as well as adventure. India sits firmly on the world mountain biking map, thanks to its varied landscapes and exciting topography. If you are someone who's looking to take the plunge into this crazy world or are already a seasoned rider, here are the top destinations that should absolutely be there on your hit list!

Credits: Max Pixel

Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Siddharth Sujan

The fact that Manali is also commonly referred to as the “Mountain biking capital of India” in the biking circle is proof enough of the strong mountain biking culture in this hill town of Himachal Pradesh. The town which was once the gateway to an ancient trade route to Ladakh, now serves as the the starting point for long distance rides to Leh and Ladakh. While Manali attracts hordes of expert mountain bikers who kick off their long distance rides from here, there are several popular local trails as well that are ideal for beginners to better their skills.

Top things to see and do: Explores the cafes of Old Manali; offer your prayers at the Hidimba Devi temple; take a dip in the healing hot waters of the Vashisht village and shop on the Manali mall road.

Flight cost: The nearest airport to Manali is the Kullu airport, at a distance of 50 km. A flight ticket from New Delhi to Kullu will cost you about ₹7,000.

Daily budget: ₹1,000

Best time to visit: March to June

Credits: Henrik Johansson

Photo of Leh, Himachal Pradesh, India by Siddharth Sujan

Talking about mountain biking in India and not mentioning Leh would be a crime! The surreal landscapes coupled with the challenging terrain makes Leh one of the most unique places for mountain biking in the world. If you happen to be a professional who’s in search for the ultimate adrenaline rush, skip the local trails and ride to Khardungla, the highest motorable road in the world—a ride that will be the ultimate test for both you as well as your bike.

Top things to see and do: Visit the surreal Nubra valley; explore the monasteries of Leh; experience the uniqueness of the Magnetic Hill and watch the sunset at the popular Pangong Tso lake.

Flight cost: A direct flight from New Delhi to Leh will cost you approximately ₹4,500.

Daily budget: ₹1,500

Best time to visit: April to July

Credits: Max Pixel

Photo of Spiti, Kaza, Himachal Pradesh, India by Siddharth Sujan

If you’re looking for a solitary mountain biking adventure, you might want to ditch those Leh plans and head to Spiti instead! Cycling in the Spiti valley can be quite a thrilling experience as the trails test you at every point while taking you through some of the most remote villages and passes which are a sheer treat to the senses. While the valley mostly draws experienced riders, beginners can head there too as a lot of expert riders offer guided cycling trails in the area under their supervision.

Top things to see and do: Visit the village of Gue to see a mummy; meditate in the Tabo monastery; do street shopping in the local market of Kaza and spend a night camping by the Chandratal lake.

Flight cost: The nearest airport to Spiti is the Kullu airport, at a distance of 255 km. A flight ticket from New Delhi to Kullu will cost you about ₹7,000.

Daily budget: ₹1,500

Best time to visit: May to September

Credits: TRAILSOURCE.COM

Photo of Munnar, Kerala, India by Siddharth Sujan

Lush green tea estates to cycle through, tropical weather and scintillating natural trails are just some of the many factors which make Munnar a mountain biking hotspot. Located in the beautiful state of Kerala, the hill station owing to its beautiful descends through the tea gardens attracts thousands of cycling novices every year who ride the hills of Munnar to hone their skills. On the other hand, skilled riders can explore long distance trails of Kerala, most of which commence from Munnar itself.

Top things to see and do: Explore the tea gardens of Munnar; go trekking in the gorgeous foothills; enjoy a shikara ride in Kundala lake and go for an elephant safari at the Carmelagiri Elephant Park.

Flight cost: The nearest airport to Munnar is the Kochi airport. A direct flight from New Delhi to Kochi will cost you approximately ₹3,500.

Daily budget: ₹1,200

Best time to visit: September to May

Credits: mewd

Photo of Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India by Siddharth Sujan

Uttarakhand is the ultimate haven for adventure enthusiasts and Rishikesh serves as the gateway to this world of thrill. Located on the banks of the holy river Ganges, Rishikesh attracts a lot of medium-skilled cyclists who come to explore the raw and rough terrains of this popular destination. The town also serves as the starting point of one of the most popular long-distance rides in the region that goes all the way up to Gangotri, crossing Tehri, Dharasu, Bhatwari and Harsil.

Top things to see and do: Put up in a riverside camp; indulge in adventure activities by the river and explore the hippie cafes of Rishikesh.

Flight cost: A direct flight from New Delhi to Dehradun, which is the closest airport to Rishikesh, costs about ₹2,000.

Daily budget: ₹1,100

Best time to visit: October to March

Credits: Max Pixel

Photo of Pindari Glacier, Uttarakhand, India by Siddharth Sujan

A ride through the hills of Pindari in Uttarakhand is as challenging as it can get! Nestled in the upper Kumaon Hills amongst the Nanda Devi peaks, Pindari is a glacier usually frequented by passionate trekkers. The unexplored trails and mountains of Pindari make it the ideal spot for seasoned bikers. This is quite evident from the fact that the most famous mountain bikers from around the world have paid a visit to Pindari in search for that shot of adrenaline.

Top things to see and do: Take a guided trek through the Pindari glacier; visit the quaint hill town of Bageshwar and camp out under the stars in the hills of Pindari.

Flight cost: The closest airport to Pindari is in Pantnagar, at a distance of 180km. A flight from Delhi to Pantnagar costs about ₹3,500.

Daily budget: ₹1,000

Best time to visit: March to May

Credits: pcdazero

Photo of Gangtok, Sikkim, India by Siddharth Sujan

The capital city of Sikkim has seen a sudden a sudden upsurge in the mountain biking culture in the past few years. Cycling through the exciting terrain full of steep climbs and crazy descends makes for the best way to explore the beauty, culture and heritage of Sikkim. Gangtok also serves as the start point to some of the most memorable long-distance rides you will ever take.

Top things to see and do: Go river rafting in Teesta; explore some amazing eateries in M.G. Marg and enjoy the sunset at Tashi View Point.

Flight cost: The closest airport from Gangtok is about a 125 km away in Bagdogra. Flight rates from Delhi to Bagdogra are approximately ₹3,000.

Daily budget: ₹800

Best time to visit: March to May

Credits: Max Pixel

Photo of Coorg, Karnataka, India by Siddharth Sujan

Best known for its coffee plantations, Coorg is a small district tucked in the gorgeous state of Karnataka. Bikers can ride through one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world, the Western Ghats while here in Coorg. The small hill station offers great riding options for riders of all skill levels while the gorgeous landscapes make for truly memorable rides.

Top things to see and do: Go river rafting in Barapole; experience a coffee plantation stay, visit the Dubare elephant camp and go for an off-roading jeep drive in Nishani hills.

Flight cost: The Mysore airport at a distance of 120km is the closest airport to Coorg. A flight ticket from Delhi to Mysore costs about ₹6,000.

Daily budget: ₹1,100

Best time to visit: October to March

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